EXCLUSIVE: Premier League clubs will vote on curtailing NEXT season if it cannot finish by August 11 after chaos thrown up by Project Restart
- Premier League shareholders meet on Thursday to discuss a number of issues
- There was a vote on a curtailment plan if future seasons were abandoned
- Top flight clubs voted that next season will finish no later than August 11
Premier League clubs will today vote on a proposal committing them to curtailing next season if the Board concludes that it cannot be completed in full by a deadline of 11 August.
Sportsmail has learned that while the clubs remain committed to completing the 2021-22 campaign if at all possible the Board are proposing the introduction of what sources describe as a ‘back-stop date’ 80 days after the scheduled end of the season on 23 May, which would be used to trigger a curtailment vote if the deadline could not be met.
In a sign of what is expected to be a heated meeting today however, the Premier League’s Curtailment Working Group have been unable to agree on a threshold at which sporting consequences, such as awarding titles, promotion and relegation and European qualification, should apply to an abandoned season and the clubs will be given two options.
Liverpool won the Premier League title in 2019-20 following a season that was disrupted by three months thanks to the coronavirus pandemic
In another crucial ballot the clubs will be asked to vote on whether the season should be deemed to be complete after either 66 per cent or 75 per cent of the scheduled matches have been played.
If an uneven number of matches had been played at that point then points-per-game would be used to determine final league positions.
The difference between the two proposed models is only four Premier League match rounds, but such are the stakes of staying in the top flight and the financial implications of potential broadcast rebates that the Curtailment Working Group were unable to reach a consensus.
A majority of 14 of the 20 clubs will be required for the threshold to be agreed, and if that is not reached at today’s vote then the FA may be called in to arbitrate.
Whichever threshold is adopted next season would be declined void if the set number of games were not played by 11 August next year, in which case there would be no Premier League winners or relegation to the Championship.
The Premier League Board initially proposed that the season could be deemed complete in the event of curtailment if 50 per cent of the matches had been played, but that figure was unanimously rejected as too low by the four-strong Curtailment Working Group following consultation with the clubs.
Premier League matches were played behind closed doors following its resumption in June
The Board have succeeded in establishing the principle that only they can trigger a curtailment vote rather than individual clubs, due to an acknowledgement of the possibility that they could be guided by their own interests based on current league position.
The Premier League have moved to introduce the curtailment cut-off to protect the integrity of the 2021-22 season, whilst also seeking to provide certainty to broadcasters and guaranteeing sufficient rest for the players.
There is also an acknowledgement of the need to align seasons with the Football League and for agreement with the FA, and talks with both other bodies are on-going.
The Premier League’s priority is to get the season finished in full and as a result the Curtailment Working Group have discussed the possibility of introducing a number of extraordinary measures to facilitate completion.
In addition to playing matches behind closed doors, reducing gaps between fixtures and using neutral venues if necessary the Premier League have also considered taking games abroad and staging them all in a single bio-secure bubble at a UK stadium, although these radical proposals will only be revisited in an emergency.